Lighting Fires With Bucket Brigades

When you think of bucket brigades, you probably think of a line of people passing a bucket of water down a line to put out a fire. And you’re right.


But in the context of copywriting, bucket brigades are a metaphor for words and phrases that keep your reader’s attention.


Copywriters don’t use bucket brigades to put out a fire. They use them to light one within their readers.


Here’s the deal:

Read More

SEO In A Winner Takes All Economy

What Is The Winner Takes All Economy?

Once upon a time, long long ago, you could open a store in your home town and only be competing against one other storekeeper, or perhaps three if your townspeople were willing to travel to the next town over.


Actually, that wasn’t such a distant time. Let’s call that the 2000 economy.


Since 2000, there have been two major changes affecting small businesses; the internet and globalisation.

Read More

You’re Wasting Half Your Day

Or at least I was.


We perceive our productivity by how busy we feel. If we have 3 meetings, return 14 phone calls and send 77 emails, we feel we’re 94 steps closer to a promotion.


But just as someone who reads thirty five blog posts about the benefits of the paleo diet is no closer to their goal weight; feeling busy doesn’t mean we’re productive.


Productivity does not care about your effort. It awards no participation trophies. Productivity, like a 1950s school teach with a waiting cane by their side, cares about only one thing. Your results.

Read More

People Obsess Over Arnold Schwarzenegger And Spiderman. But Why? Machine Learning Has An Answer

Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in a village in Austria named Thal. Don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either. And if it wasn’t for Arnold I never would have. For all practical purposes Thal is as remote as the planet Krypton.


In Thal, Arnold’s childhood chums would grow up to live a simple village life. The life their parents lived. But that was not the life Arnold dreamed of.

Read More

Innovative Ideas Require Worldly Wisdom

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosopher and Logician


How we think determines if our business succeeds. As Charlie Munger said, “You may have noticed students who just try to remember and pound back what is remembered. Well, they fail in school and life. You’ve got to hang experience on a latticework of models in your head.”


Munger continued, “The models have to come from multiple disciplines—because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department.”

Read More

How to Turn Customers Into Promoters

The Underlying Strategy of Instagram, Airbnb, Hotmail, Dropbox, Converse and Apple

Everyone wants their gadget, video, blog or product to go viral. Yet companies can spend millions on a campaign with nothing to show except for an unused hashtag.


Getting something to go viral means people must share your product with their social network. We can’t expect people to share something because we want them to. They share it because it benefits them or their friends.


Being shareable isn’t a marketing campaign. It’s not something you can add-on last minute. Being shareable is something you embed into your product—it transforms your customers into promoters.  


How do we get people to share our product, idea or brand? The world’s most innovative companies have a few ideas. And see if you notice the underlying strategy their tactics share.

Read More

The Subtle Layers of Persuasion

“Like acting, sales works best when hidden.” ― Peter Thiel, Zero to One.


The Greek poet Homer tells the story of Ulysses, a respected warrior. As Ulysses is sailing home from the Trojan war, the goddess of magic, Circe, speaks to him. She warns him of two monsters pretending to be beautiful women singing. She warns him anyone who hears their singing is overcome with desire and falls into their trap. Many passing sailors are lured to their island and murdered. What Ulysses did in response teaches us how we can deal with master persuaders. But let’s get to Ulysses story later.

Read More

SUMMARY: Made to Stick — By Chip Heath & Dan Heath

“Anyone interested in influencing others—to buy, to vote, to learn, to diet, to give to charity or to start a revolution—can learn from this book.”—The Washington Post


“All creative ads resemble one another, but each loser is uncreative in its own way.” That’s the premise of this book. The ideas that make people care, that persuade, that stick, are all alike. They have certain secrets which make them stick…


Why do some ideas survive and others die? They have SUCCESs:


  1. Simple – Easily understood.
  2. Unexpected – Capture attention.
  3. Concrete – Clear.
  4. Credible – Trusted.
  5. Emotional – We care.
  6. Story – We act and remember.


These six principles form each of the six main chapters of this New York Times Bestseller, Made to Stick.

Read More

How Ideas Spread: The Diffusion of Innovations Theory

New ideas are difficult to spread. Even when they’re right. Even when they save lives.


In 1846, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis had a brilliant idea. If implemented quickly, it would save the lives of thousands of mothers in his own hospital. And millions of lives worldwide. But that’s not what happened.

Read More

10 Rules of Bad Writing

Bad writing is popular. For proof, we need look no further than office memos, gossip magazines and YouTube comments.


And we know what’s popular is what’s best. The most popular TV show is Jersey Shore. Our most visited dining experience is McDonald’s. And the most common artistic expression is the selfie.


We can capitalise on the popular style of bad writing by following these 10 rules:


1. You know more than your readers. By talking down to them, they will look up to you.


Read More